Welcome back to the second part of the Vanadian Avenue official guide to the new, exciting and emerging bands on the Worcestershire Music Scene.
If you have missed the first part of this blog, don’t panic. Please click on the link below and you will be able to read everything about the bands mentioned there:
Part three can be found under this link:
Are you ready for another dosage of the super talented and ready-to-take-on-the-world musician from The Faithful City? We hope so, as we have some superb artists to show you!
Happy Bones (Iggy Cuthbert)
Official bio: Happy Bones is a Worcester based folk project written by Iggy Cuthbert. Joined by Daniel Merry who provides backing vocals and rhythm guitar. Melancholic, sleep deprived and intimate folk tunes. Sung in a trembling voice, the influences range from Elliott Smith to Conor Oberst.
Worcester born and based singer/songwriter Igor “Iggy” Cuthbert is a busy body. He is a solo artist (performing under the name of Happy Bones), a poet, visual artist and a music promoter. As Happy Bones, Iggy played extensively in Worcestershire alongside nth cave, Thousand Mountains, Solsara, Ben Dallow, Iosif Norrisache (Joe Norris), Luke Steele, Sam Clines and others. He was also a lead singer and guitarist for the band Shia and lead guitarist for another alternative outfit, Gooche.
Happy Bones released a self-titled debut EP in 2017 to very positive reviews. Iggy described it as “a project I wrote and recorded in 15 days. The EP was full of mistakes, wrong notes and skipped beats. It’s intended to be honest and intimate. I wrote the songs as sketches and ideas and I hope whoever listens to them keeps that in mind.”
As a music promoter, Iggy is a member of The Boneyard Sessions along with Hector and Fergus Brazier and Alfie Newman of nth cave. He works with music venues in Herefordshire and Worcestershire organizing open mic nights, spoken word sessions and concert for local and international artists such as the German indie-rock outfit, The Black Rattles.
Iggy curated a stage for Worcester Music Festival at the Old Pheasant headlined by popular Worcester quartet, RVRMN.
Brought up in Worcester and Evesham, Ben Dallow spent several years living away from West Midlands residing in Liverpool and Bristol. His music has been described as a classic rock, with mix of psychedelia and a lot of brit pop. It shouldn’t come as a surprise as his influences include Paul Weller, The Jam, Oasis, The Stone Roses, Primal Scream and Ocean Colour Scene. Known among his friends as “Brit-pop Ben” due to his musical style and image, Ben has been performing in Worcester music clubs and venues, sharing stages with many established and local acts.
He played at 9th and 10th edition of Worcester Music Festival (2016 and 2017 respectively) and curated a music night on September 15th at the Firefly under “Ben Dallows Presents” banner. He introduced several new acts to Worcester scene including Plastic Scene, Ghosts in the Photographs, Elephant Peel, Pink Diamond Revue and The Actions.
Alongside poet Joe Norris, Ben is a part of Random Name Generator artistic project created to popularize poetry and acoustic music in Worcestershire. Random Name Generator closely works with other local promoters including The Hive, Worcester University, Boneyard Sessions, Slap Magazine and Sudden Attack. As a solo artist, Ben supported Birmingham based electronic/hybrid music trio Lycio in November 2017 at the Bottles and Jesse River Dylan Murray during the launch of his debut EP entitled “Classical Music” in July. He was also involved in Worcester Canal Festival in 2016 and 2017.
Worcester Music Festival: http://www.worcestermusicfestival.co.uk/bands/Benjamin-Dallow/
Becky Rose Seabright
At only 26 years old, Becky has a resume of an artist and performer twice her age. In the last 4 years, she has performed more than 250 times nationally, with her biggest concerts being held in Birmingham, London (Troubadour Club and Amnesty International Headquarters) and Manchester.
In June 2012 while still a student at University of Worcester, she performed an original song for The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh to commemorate the opening of The Hive, the biggest library in Worcestershire. Her performance was recorded and broadcast live on BBC Hereford and Worcester. It also received mentions in the national press and radio.
Two years later, after beating nearly 37000 candidates from the UK and Ireland, Becky was selected to attend the BBC Introducing Musician’s Masterclass at Abbey Road Studios in London where she met artists such as Calvin Harris and Mark Ronson and the bosses of companies including Columbia Records and XL Recordings. As an unsigned artist, her songs received national airplay on BBC 6 Music and Radio 1. Becky’s music has been championed by Andrew Marston and she was invited to record her sessions for BBC Introducing in Hereford and Worcester twice in 2013 and 2016. Becky was also interviewed after her fiancé and fellow musician, Ruben Seabright decided to propose on stage in the middle of Dr Stanley’s Medicine Show! Mrs Seabright performed several times at Worcester Music Festival to full houses. She is the only Worcestershire artist with number one hit in the charts! One of her songs made it to the top spot on Amazing Radio Top 20 which led to her receiving professional music tutoring from Air Management of Air Studios in London (Radiohead, Travis, Doctor Who franchise).
She is inspired by Boradway musicals, Queen, Danny Elfman, Regina Spektor and Hans Zimmer. Becky works now for Worcester University as an events manager and performs extensively.
Founded in 2013, Worcestershire quartet RVRMN (pronounced “Riverman”) consists of Joe Powell (lead vocals, guitar), Ben Growcott (drums), Will Maeers (lead guitar, backing vocals) and Morgan Whitebeam (bass). 2017 has been a breakthrough year for the young band. They released their debut EP “Back to Bed” in February and embarked on a tour to promote it that took them to Birmingham (The Flapper), Bristol (Louisiana), Hereford, Worcester (The Marrs’ Bar), Walsall, and Wolverhampton. They have returned to Birmingham twice more over the summer to headline young bands nights at O2 Academy. They also played at several summer festivals (Nozstock, Offenham Festival) to great reviews in local press including a positive review from Slap Magazine.
RVRMN performed at Worcester Music Festival three times (2014, 2016 and 2017). The last time saw them performing twice in one day, first at St Swithuns Institute and then at The Swan with Two Nicks. On 29th of November they have been invited to record their session for BBC Introducing Hereford and Worcester along with the Americas, Ben Goodwin and Jakebob.
RVMN is influenced by The 1975, Hodera, Bon Iver and The Hunna
Neil Ivison and Stone Mountain Sinners
Official bio: Sometimes, timing is everything. When Neil Ivison’s first band (the Janice Long championed Misers) imploded, he soon found his way back out on the road working as a touring guitar tech with the 1975 & Wolf Alice among others. Meanwhile, Sarah Warren’s eponymously named band were also about to call time on 10 years of hard gigging through the UK and & Europe. During a rare day off from an intensive US tour schedule, in a hotel room in the Californian desert, beside the 29 Palms Highway and less than 2 miles from the infamous Joshua Tree Motel (where 42 years previously, Gram Parsons had met his untimely end), Neil, finally admitting that his passion for writing songs and playing his own gigs had become eroded, took the decision to finish the current tour and return to the UK to work on new music, inspired by the regular jaunts to the southern States of the US. Neil: “That same afternoon, I was aimlessly browsing social media and noticed Sarah had written a post announcing the end of The Sarah Warren Band. Having been a fan of her incredible voice ever since I first heard it, I immediately dashed off a quick email to see if she’d be interested in working on something new together. I think I just put “Any Chance?!” in the subject line”. Luckily, Sarah’s mutual appreciation for Neil’s work with The Misers meant that she was more than eager to see what could come out of collaborating together but not before she had grabbed her musical cohort, die hard Americana fan and ex Warren Band bassist Nick Lyndon. The 3 got together over several months in the autumn of 2016 to kick around some ideas with Nick & Neil forming a prolific song writing partnership, giving birth to 12 new tracks in the first 2 weeks alone, as well as revisiting some old songs that were rejuvenated with new & dynamic male/female vocal arrangements. Once the songs started to take shape the trio dug out their address books, made a few calls and were soon bolstered by Roger Roberts on Hammond/Piano and Vocals and former RedBeards sticks man Duke Delight on Drums and began rehearsing in earnest.
Worcester/Hereford based band, Stone Mountain Sinners consist of Neil Ivison (vocals, guitar,) Sarah Warren (lead vocals), Nick Lyndon (bass), Roger Roberts (keyboard/hammond) and Duke Delight (drums). Both Sarah and Nick previously played together in an established Worcestershire outfit The Haunted Souls, while Duke was a member of the RedBeards.
Before joining SMS, Neil Ivison also had a successful career with his previous band, The Misers and as a solo artist. The Misers toured nationally and worldwide playing legendary venues such as Astoria, Royal Albert Hall and Club 100 in London, The Viper Room in Los Angeles or Fillmore in San Francisco usually at full capacity. Neil performed live and on records with members of Squeeze, The Sex Pistols, The Cult, Guns n’ Roses, The Specials, Morrissey, Ocean Colour Scene, The Proclaimers, The Wildhearts, Groove Armada & Tenpole Tudor. Many of his performances were broadcast live on BBC Radio 2 and Sky Arts. He was also championed by Janice Long (BBC 2 journalist awarded the prestigious BASCA Gold Badge for her unique contribution to music in 2016). Most recently Neil scored a Top 10 record in the UK Album charts as vocalist on The Professionals album “What in the World” (released on October 27th 2017 through Automaton Records).
Stone Mountain Sinners have appeared locally on several occasions including a short set on April 30th at the Swan with Two Nicks (Malicia’s gig of the year). The popular pub in Worcester city center was packed to the last place and a huge crowd gathered outside trying to get in. Their gigs around Evesham (The Regal and The Royal Oak) became the talk to the town bringing Robert Plant to see them. On 7th of December, the band made their London debut at the Bordlerline, supporting Men They Couldn’t Hang. The Sinners will release their debut EP in the late spring 2018.
Ren Wolfe, better known under the pseudonym of HEXEN is Worcester native singer/songwriter, costume designer, model and visual artist. She currently resides and works in Cardiff. HEXEN describes herself as “pop noir” or “goth pop” and finds inspiration in pulp novels, occult and sexploitation movies from the 60’s and 70’s. She is also interested in horrors and witchcraft motives and their influence over pop culture. Her favourite band is The Cure.
Ren has worked closely with several notable Welsh and Worcester musicians. She sang backing vocals on a well received single “Float away” by Nuns of the Tundra and supported them on stage during promotion of their EP in Worcester (Marr’s Bar) and in Bristol (Louisiana).
She released her debut EP “Holy Hell” on 14th of August 2017 to excellent reception from press and Spotify community where her songs received thousands of listens and likes. The three song release (“Baptism”, “Sacrifice” and “Salvation”) tell a story of an elaborate revenge and can be classified as a concept EP, something very rare on an indie circuit. It was produced by Scott Mahoney at Strange Trees Media and mastered by Joe Caithness.
Scott Mahoney has nothing but praises for HEXEN for their work together:
“The EP was written completely in the flat. HEXEN wrote some beautiful songs and then came to me. We worked on the music together to get the songs to where they are now. We went into the studio in Malvern, up in the middle of the Hills to record the vocals and extra layers, and then I went away and mixed it all together. The whole process took a few months from demos to finished tracks, and there are more tracks currently being worked on”.
Over the summer, Reverbnation placed Ren in their top 5 pop chart for Wales in 2017, Our Culture Mag (blog) described her as “dark pop artist, her powerful and moving music is starting to put her on the radar” and she was interviewed for BBC Wales by DJ Bethan Elfyn in June 2017. Ian Critchley of Louder Than War Magazine described her EP as “atmospheric, emotive and brimming with soul, heaven for pensive ears. Baroque and Roll for all the lost souls”.
HEXEN was championed by DJ Adam Walton at BBC Wales. In May 2017, he included her on BBC Introducing Wales and in July, she became their Artist of the Week. She was also named one of the emerging new artists on BBC Wales three times: in May, August and September 2017. HEXEN’s songs are included in several official Spotify play lists dedicated for rising indie stars: “Wonky Sensitive”, “Fringe Music Fix”, “Find A Song” and “Pop Daily”.
Fronted by Worcester native, Harry Jones, the Bristol based project Vertigo is one of the best kept secrets on the West Midlands and Bristol indie scenes. Formed in 2015, the band underwent several line up changes and at this moment consists of Charlotte Tunnicliffe on drums, Aaron House on bass and Harry Lee Jones on vocals and guitar. Vertigo are somewhat elusive and do not perform much, but each of their concerts is always well attended (such as the sold out gig at The Fleece in Bristol). Their debut single entitled “Breath” received a fantastic response from local media and the band was quickly spotted by BBC DJ Andrew Marston. They were included into BBC Introducing in Hereford and Worcester on 3rd of September 2016 along with Grafton Ash. “Breath” also received an extensive play on BBC Hereford and Worcester radio. The band is inspired by Jesus and the Mary Chain, The Stone Roses, The Beatles and The Velvet Underground.
Vertigo is now working on new material to be released in the second half of 2018. Judging by their new demos, we can expect great things from them. They are Rita’s discovery of 2017. Honestly, she has not been so excited about a band since The White Lies and they went on to have a spectacular career!
Soundcloud (new demo for “Gucci”) https://soundcloud.com/vertigodada/gucci-the-first-demo
Soundcloud (“Breath”): https://soundcloud.com/vertigodada/breathe
Wheew! What a ride! One can get a serious case of vertigo being surrounded by so much talent in such a small place. We keep saying it, but we are extremely proud of our musicians, the entire scene and the people who work so hard in the background to make the gigs and events happen. Hats off to you, ladies and gentlemen.
It is not possible to mention all the bands that are playing clubs, bars and venues in Worcester, but we are constantly on the lookout and if we see anybody worth a mention, we will be more than happy to add them to the next edition!
Stay tuned, stay sharp and stay vigilant,
Rita and Mal D.